Tag Archives: zone 8b garden

September To-Do List

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September To-Do List

My garden is going through an ugly time.

Right now, only the most stalwart crops are surviving the heat.

This banana plant is a notable exception; it’s mocking its more homely neighbors.

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As you can tell, in the shed bed not much is going on except for the basil. I plan to put some fall crops over here again this fall and winter. This garden gets more sunlight in the winter and my collards and kale did well over here last year.

I can make some pesto from the basil and freeze it. A little pesto adds a nice summery shot of flavor to winter sauces.

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Despite the heat and lack of rainwater, I am still able to harvest okra, bell peppers, Southern peas, and some ground cherries. The sweet potato vines are running, and I should saute some of the greens. We really enjoyed them last year. Even if my sweet potato crop is poor this year, the greens would still make it worthwhile to grow.

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This banana pepper plant really is my pride and joy at this time. I hate to pick the peck of peppers and pickle them; the plant looks fabulous!

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I started my fall planting in August. My green beans are doing well and I have 2 zucchini plants.

Here’s my plan for September:

1. Start collards and kale in flats. In this heat, the seeds will germinate rapidly and get off to a good start.

2. Clear old plants from shed bed.

3. Find a yummy recipe for those banana peppers.

4. Pickle some of the okra. I’ve never had pickled okra-I hope I like it!

5. Transplant some of the tomato plants that I propagated from my spring planting.

 

The list is pretty easy for this month. I love gardening in Florida, there is always something new that you can grow!

Any ideas for the banana peppers? I’m thinking of stuffing them with cream cheese, cheddar, bacon, and sauteed onions and then baking them. Does that sound good?

How is your garden this month?

Time to Plant the Fall Garden!

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For us in North Florida, spring is here again! Many of the spring crops can be planted again, and many of the fall crops can be started this month.

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I really want some green beans, so I am planting some of them, and a few zucchini plants. I saved seeds from my prolific ‘National Pickling’ cucumbers, and I hope to make some more homemade pickles.

I am only going to plant a few tomato plants. I have some cuttings rooted in water on my windowsill. I just clipped some cuttings off the plants before I pulled them. For more tips, read this post.

Many leafy vegetables can be started next month. Collards and kale did well for me last year, so I plan to grow them again.

For now, my garden has quite a few plants that will keep producing for a while: peppers, okra, sweet potatoes, and pink-eyed purple-hulled peas.

For a spectacular Florida Vegetable Planting Guide, visit the University of Florida site. If one of your spring crops failed, chances are that you can try again!

Gardening in Florida is awesome!

What are you doing in your garden now? Are you relaxing in the air conditioning or sweating in the summer sun? I confess, most of my gardening is done before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Florida sun can be brutal!

May To-Do List

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What a difference a month makes in a Florida spring garden!
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Look how much the bush beans have grown. You can actually make out the rows without straining. The tomatoes need staking, and many of the vegetables in the garden are starting to flower.

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Only big change here is that the daikon radishes on the left (white flowers) and the collards (yellow flowers) have more seed pods than flowers now. Still harvesting lots of kale, though. So yummy! My favorite kale recipe is here.

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Hopefully I will be eating fresh green beans soon. I have missed them so much. Until then, I am enjoying the delicate flowers on my bush bean plants.

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Do you see the baby zucchini? She’s so cute.

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The marigolds are showing their cheery little faces and the cauliflower even sent up exuberant blooms. When cauliflower is sold, it is sold as unopened flower buds, not as the yellow flowers above right.

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cauliflower plants in bloom with seedpods

The whole plant ends up being pretty massive, as seen here compared to my flip-flopped foot. The plants were given to a neighbor’s chickens. 🙂 I figured they would love pecking at all the seedpods.

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collards in bloom

Collards are in the same family as cauliflower; you can see that they look the same but they get really tall! Some of them were over 5 feet tall. The chickens got most of these too, but I kept one so it’s seeds could ripen.

So what’s on my to-do list?

1. I hope to harvest green beans, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes this month.

2. I plan to keep mulching to keep the weeds down. When I pulled up the rows of collards and cauliflower, I had very few weeds thanks to a mulch of oak leaves. For more reasons to mulch, you could read my post Why I Mulch.

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See all those leaves? My husband was so sweet to get them for my garden. Yes, I know, it looks pretty ghetto now, but I was pretty excited to see them. They should all be gone by the end of the month and my gardens will be super happy!

3. Most of my planting is done, but I would like to start more eggplant, basil, and okra. They really like the hot weather and I think it is here for us gardening in North Florida.

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Nothing like the smell of tomato leaves or the sight of vibrant tomato flowers to give this backyard gardener some hope.

Oh wait, look closely! Is that a baby tomato I see?!

What is happening in your garden? Know some gardeners in who are suffering from spring fever but still have snow? Share this post with them to encourage them that winter is not forever!

Coming soon-a post on great ways to save money in your garden!

Why Another Garden Blog?

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My Florida backyard garden is a source of so much happiness and so many wonderful vegetables. Here in the Florida panhandle (zone 8b), we can grow something fresh and healthy all year long. Vegetable gardening in northwest Florida is sometimes challenging, but it is very rewarding to grow plants that are both beautiful and productive. In this blog, you are invited to peek over my fence and watch my garden grow.

There are already many sites and blogs dedicated to the outdoors; why did I decide to add yet another gardening blog?

It started when I began vegetable gardening in the Florida panhandle. I found myself (as many of you are) searching for resources that would first tell me what should be planted and then show me what they were growing. Growing vegetables here is completely different than what is portrayed in many gardening books.

Usually my dear research assistant, Mr. Google, provided me with zillions of sites and I found what I needed on the first page. However, I found it hard to find many people sharing their gardens in my area. What I did find I read voraciously and studied intently. I love gardening and have learned so much; both by research, and by hard-won experience.

Some tell me that I have the coveted green thumb, but I say with H. Fred Ale, “My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.” I hope that I can create a resource to make gardening a bit easier for you. I also plan to share resources that I found helpful.

I am so grateful that I have my little garden journal to refer to as I start seeds(see my seed-starting tutorial here, plant my okra, and harvest tomatoes; but now I plan to have an illustrated journal here, on coffeetocompost.com. I find that few things are more cheerful in the damp cold days of February than looking back to pictures of the enthusiastic garden in June.

I love to have my hands in the soil, feed the compost, watch little sproutlings grow, and feel the hope that a packet of seeds brings.  If you eagerly await the seed catalogs each year, obsessively monitor your seedlings’ progress, frantically try new ways to outwit frost,or just want to figure out how to have fresh basil this year; let’s garden together.